ATC - Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical - Introduction

ATC drug classification

Title: The Anatomical, Therapeutic, Chemical (ATC) classification system with Defined Daily Doses (DDDs), short: The ATC/DDD system.


Since 1982, the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system has been maintained by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology in Oslo, Norway. The system provides a global standard for classifying medical substances and serves as a tool for drug utilisation research. The WHO recommends the ATC system for international comparisons. In the WHO framework it is also used for reporting of adverse drug reactions. ATC codes are included both in international and national drug catalogues (including Australia) and represent a common language. Courses in the ATC/DDD methodology are arranged annually by the Oslo Centre, with participants from all over the world. Researchers, representatives from health authorities and the pharmaceutical industry attend these courses.

In 2004 ATC was accepted into the Australian Family of Health and Related Classifications for use in classifying drugs.

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